Survivors get animated to share stories

THE stories of six eyewitnesses to Nazi atrocities in the Holocaust have been brought to life through animation for a young audience.

Yorkshire-based Fettle Animation has worked in collaboration with the Holocaust Survivors' Friendship Association to produce Children of the Holocaust for BBC Learning Zone - BBC2's BAFTA-winning overnight service for schools.

"One and a half million innocent children were killed during the Holocaust," said survivor Trude Silman. "Why should innocent people be killed just because they were Jewish?"

In the compilation of short animated films, survivors Martin Kapel, Ruth Rogoff, Arek Hersh, Heinz Skyte and Suzanne Rappaport-Ripton have joined Mrs Silman to tell the stories of what happened to them as children.

They also describe the impact of these experiences on their later lives in short, follow-on interviews to camera.

HSFA chairman Lilian Black, said: "Our members have really enjoyed being involved in creating these animations.

"Their families have been really moved by the way their testimonies have been brought to life, and everyone is excited to be bringing their stories to a wider audience."

The interviews were recorded last August by Kath Shackleton and Liz Mollineux.

Kath said: "We were drawn to the topic as a human interest. After attending the Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations and seeing the school groups that were involved, we could see how important this is to people. We thought we knew how to inspire people to get involved.

"The key was to listen. We aren't focused particularly on Jewish culture, we're just looking at the question of why any particular race gets discriminated against."

She added: "It's a hard subject that people usually recoil away from, but animation provides a gentle introduction for children."

The production has been shortlisted for several prestigious film and animation festivals.

"People seem genuinely moved," Kath said. "We have met many warm, passionate and delightful people. For example one of the people featured is a 94-year-old man. His independence is inspiring."

Children of the Holocaust was broadcast at 4am today, but is available on BBC iPlayer (until Thursday).

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